This is a blog written by our Intern Queen Campus Ambassador, Bianca, who attends Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
Did you find your perfect internship to learn that it’s only available for college credit? With the Fall semester quickly coming to a close, it’s time to start planning for a Spring internship. Many companies require interns to receive college credit for legal reasons and as a means of compensation. It’s important to research and learn about your school’s procedures regarding for-credit internships, because every university handles internships in a different way. Read below to find out seven things you need to know when planning for your credited internship!
1. Who’s your internship coordinator?
If there’s one person at your university that can answer all of your internship questions, it’s going to be your internship coordinator. Many universities have specific internship coordinators within the different schools, especially for specialized degree programs. As soon as you begin to consider doing an internship for credit, make sure to find the contact information for your internship coordinator. I recommend meeting with your internship coordinator as early into your college career as possible, because they can provide you with a lot of helpful tips and tricks that can help you maximize your internship experience.
2. Your university’s prerequisites
Every university has different prerequisites and requirements students must meet before interning for credit. For example, I’m a dual-major in music business and marketing, and because the two majors are in two different departments, they each have their separate set of rules and requirements. Technically, my marketing major has no requirements, and I could’ve interned for credit my first semester in college. On the other hand, my music business department has several prerequisite courses, an internship training lab, and collegiate seminar requirements that must be met before you can intern for credit. Many schools will not allow internships before your junior year, and you often have to meet a certain GPA standard. With every school taking a different approach to internships, make sure you find out the specific protocol for your school.
3. How much credit can I receive?
Every school takes a different approach to the credit rewarded for your internship. My school, for example, gives credit on a sliding scale in accordance with the number of hours you work at your internship each week. The more you intern, the more credit you receive. However, this is not always the case at every school. Make sure to ask your internship coordinator about the credits rewarded for an internship. Another important question to ask is the maximum number of credits you can be granted through internships. Universities will typically cap off the number of hours you can earn in internships, because they want you to have a balance with classes and experiential learning. My school will only allow you to receive a total of 6 credit hours for internships during your entire college career, so I suggest you save your internship credits and allocate them wisely!
4. Internship criteria and approval process
Depending on the type of internship you’re interested in, it’s important to find out if your school has certain criteria that the company of interest must meet. As a music business student, my music business internships must be at companies with a significant tie to the entertainment industry, and if I try to intern for credit at a company that’s not entertainment related, I can’t receive credit. Your school may require you to get your internship approved, but if not, make sure that the company meets the college’s criteria to ensure you get your credit at the end of the semester! When in doubt, ask your internship coordinator.
5. How do you register for credit?
Credited internships often require registration, because you are receiving credit just as you would for a class. You may have to register for a special section specifically for internships when you go in and register for all of your classes. Depending on your school’s rules, you may have to receive an override or consult your coordinator before you can register. Either way, make sure you have done all you need to register for your internship before registration rolls around. Many universities will only let you register for a credited internship within the first few weeks of the semester, or until the drop/add period.
6. Once I start my internship, when do I need to provide proof?
Some companies are very strict about students providing proof of credit. Don’t be surprised if you have to provide a letter from your university within the first week of your internship. These guidelines will typically be found in the internship job description, so you’re expected to handle this requirement in a timely manner. When you start your internship, come armed with the necessary documentation in hand!
7. Once I’ve finished my internship, what do I need to do?
After you finish your internship, does your school have any closing procedures you must go through? Some universities require students to write a reflection or closing statement in regards to their internship experience, while other schools may not have any requirements. Try to find out the ending procedures at the beginning of the semester, so you are well aware of what’s in store.